Villages Celebrate Victory Over Illegal Sand Mining

Imagery ©2022 CNES/ Airbus, Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Imagery © 2022 TerraMetrics, Map data ©2022. Green outline to show the villages of Tondavali and Talashil.

Rahul Choudhary of Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) shares wonderful news!

India’s National Green Tribunal (NGT) halted illegal sand mining in the villages of Tondavali and Talashil in Maharashtra State, on India’s west coast. The villages, squeezed between the Gad River and the Arabian Sea, suffer from soil erosion caused by illegal sand mining in the Gad River, and salt water intrusion from rising seas.

LIFE assisted the local communities that sought legal recourse.

Rahul writes: “Thanks to ELAW for providing information on the impacts of sea level rise and sand mining!”

Sand mining and rising seas have whittled parts of the village to 50-70 meters at some places, and damaged an embankment made to protect the village. Sand mining is also impacting the aquatic and marine environment, causing salt water to contaminate village drinking water.

Around 1,000 people live in the area and most are dependent on fishing for their livelihoods.

In addition to ordering the companies to stop the illegal mining, the NGT demanded that the responsible parties conduct a hydrological study, protect fishing sites from sand mining, and reinforce the embankment.

Congratulations to LIFE for this fantastic work to defend communities and ecosystems from illegal sand mining! We hope that advocates around the world working to challenge illegal sand mining will find this decision useful.

Please find the judgment here:

Sanjay Chandrakant Keluskar v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.

Bern Johnson
Executive Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide